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Leopards to add five to hall of fame

Aug. 26, 2001

The Express-Times

EASTON -- After a year's hiatus, the Lafayette College Maroon Club will induct five more members into its athletic hall of fame.

And what a quintet it is.

NCAA record-setters Erik Marsh and Heidi Caruso lead a group that includes legendary men's basketball coach Butch van Breda Kolff, 1,000-point scorer and NBA draft choice Tony Duckett and former pro football player Frank Kirkleski.

Induction ceremonies will be held Nov. 16 at the college's Marquis Hall.

No members were inducted last year. Instead, the Maroon Club honored the 15 greatest Lafayette athletes of the 20th century.

Among those 15 honorees was Marsh, who came to Lafayette from nearby Bethlehem Catholic High School in the fall of 1991 and led the Leopards to Patriot League football championships in 1992 and 1994. Erik Marsh

Marsh, recruited by current Lafayette coach Frank Tavani, started out as a backup tailback to Tom Costello. When injuries sidelined Costello, Marsh stepped in as a freshman and rushed for 779 yards to earn the league's rookie of the year honor.

That was just a prelude of what was to come. In 1992, Marsh ran for 1,365 yards and 10 touchdowns as the Leopards went 8-3 overall and 5-0 to win the Patriot League crown.

The following season the indestructible Marsh set a school record with 1,441 yards on 304 attempts and was named the league's offensive player of the year for the second straight year.

In 1994, the Leopards lost their first six games but regrouped to win their final five -- all against Patriot League opponents -- to capture the school's last league championship.

Marsh played a huge part with 1,249 yards.

In his final three games against Lehigh (1992-94) Marsh averaged 238 yards rushing.

Marsh left Lafayette as the NCAA Division I-AA record holder for career rushes (1,027) and the school and league career rushing leader with 4,834 yards. He signed a free agent contract with the New York Jets in 1995. Heidi Caruso

Caruso, who graduated in 1994, departed College Hill as the best women's soccer player in school history. Yet, the diminutive Caruso was so versatile she set an NCAA Division I women's basketball record for steals in a game (14), career (532) and season (168). Her steals per game (6.0) is also an NCAA mark.

Caruso holds eight school soccer records, including being Lafayette's all-time leading scorer (63 goals and 17 assists in 69 matches). She was the Patriot League Player of the Year in 1991 and was a regional All America in 1993. Butch van Breda Kolff

Though he's best known for his coaching stints with Princeton and the Los Angeles Lakers, van Breda Kolff gained his first notoriety from 1951-55 with the Leopards. His first captain was future Princeton coach Pete Carril.

Van Breda Kolff wrapped up his initial tour at Lafayette by directing the Leopards to the 1955 NIT, the school's first postseason appearance. VBK returned nearly 30 years later to coach the Leopards from 1984-88. On Jan. 4, 1988, VBK's Leopards shocked visiting Notre Dame 83-68 at Kirby Sports Center. Tony Duckett

Duckett came under VBK's tutelage for his final season (1984-85). He finished as Lafayette's career assist leader with 622. He also holds the season's assist mark with 192 in 1983-84.

Duckett, who was drafted in the sixth round of the 1985 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks and later played in Europe, scored 1,063 points and started 101 games. Twice, Duckett was an East Coast Conference first-team selection. Frank Kirkleski

Kirkleski was a four-year halfback for the Leopards during their glory years in the 1920s. Lafayette was 29-4-3 during that span. Kirkleski was captain in 1926 when the Leopards went 9-0 and were declared the mythical national champion by some publications.

Kirkleski went on to play pro football for the Pottsville Maroons, Newark Tornadoes and Brooklyn Dodgers.